European Court of Human Rights Article 2!

Article 2 European Court of Human Rights – The law and How We Fail to have our Rights Delivered

The requirement imposed on the State to protect “everyone’s right to life” in Article 2(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights has been interpreted by the European Court of Human Rights as carrying with it a number of procedural rights.  In particular, from or about 1998 the Strasbourg Court has implied or read into Article 2 positive obligations on the State to establish and enforce a general framework of laws, precautions and procedures to ensure the due protection of the lives of individuals within its (legal) jurisdiction.[1]


  More pertinently for the purposes of the present advice, the Strasbourg Court has also read into Article 2 a number of procedural obligations including a duty on the part of the State to carry out proper investigations into deaths which occur within its jurisdiction.

There must be a sufficient element of public scrutiny of the investigation or its results to secure accountability in practice, maintain public confidence in the authorities’ adherence to the rule of law and prevent any appearance of collusion in or tolerance of unlawful acts. Furthermore, a requirement of promptness and reasonable expedition is also implicit in the notion of effectiveness.

The essence of the Act is that upon a satisfactory investigation there is transparency with public visibility where families are entitled to the Truth.

In Scotland there are about 14000 sudden deaths/year. Of these, the average since 2000, 2120 of these deaths are deemed accidental or suicidal.  Of all these deaths only 50 – 60 per year of these are open to public scrutiny through an FAI. To all intents and purposes we fail miserably to meet the expectations of Article 2.

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